For the Attention of the President of the People’s Republic of China
For information, to:
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For the respect of all religions and for the protection of freedom of belief in the People’s Republic of China
President Xi Jinping,
we are addressing You, as the guide for the widest and most populous country on earth.
We are a group of NGOs that have been working for years to protect freedom of belief, a fundamental human right granted by a number of norms of international laws, first and foremost article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and also by article 36 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China of 1982 as well as by article 53 of the Common Program of 1949.
Chinese people’s freedom to practice religions they believe in, is consistently challenged and trampled on.
While to some extent New Age movements such as Huan-ting Zen are tolerated only until their leaders may wind up expressing counter-current spiritual ideas, the Christian residents of the Jiangxi province are forced to remove crucifixes from their homes, all over the land entire congregations of Protestants are banned, churches and holy symbols are levelled, VCR systems are installed in temples, break-ins happen in worship places, new rulings are issued prohibiting to educate children according to their families’ religions, young Muslims are forbidden to walk into mosques, and mosques are destroyed too. In Xinjiang province detention of Muslims for ‘re-education’ purposes was reported; in other areas, also Protestant pastors and Catholic priests are arrested. Devotees of minority movements such as The Church of Almighty God and Falun Dafa, are unfairly taken into custody, deported, tortured and imprisoned; dozens of them disappear forever, some get forced into the removal of their organs while still alive, if not actually killed for ex-plantation purposes.
All such cruel facts are being continuously reported by the press all over the world (see links at the bottom).
Newspaper reporters and culture advocates who are bringing such appalling reality to light, are subject to serious intimidation, which happened for instance mid July 2018 with some journalists and informers of the magazine Bitter Winter (https://bitterwinter.org/arrested-for-sending-reports-to-bitter-winter/) as the outcome of a police operation specifically organized to silence this media, “guilty” of openly denouncing the human rights violations we are describing here: https://bitterwinter.org/state-security-takes-over-campaign-against-bit….
At the source of such a violent wave of intolerance, in addition to the ideological pressure of anti-religious groups, there is the misleading concept of “Xie Jiao” (literally meaning “heterodox teachings”) which yields discrimination, and violates freedom of belief by limiting it to the sole religions that have received a governmental approval, and additionally it also incites to actual brutality against minorities. The concept of “Xie Jiao” must be overtaken and abandoned if China is to become a modern country and rediscover the glory of its ancestral, immeasurable cultural tradition which paved the way to scientific and philosophical knowledge of crucial importance that are still subject of study and teaching all over the world.
As history teaches, the violent suppression of religions only represents the genesis of additional, dramatic social disturbance, turmoil and conflicts.
We officially hope, wish and ask that
- this intolerance and persecution cease immediately, and
- that the rule of law and implementation of the Constitution is fully restored in the People’s Republic of China,
- that every citizen and individual may be free to practice their own religion, or not to practice any, without prohibitions or obligations.
We are willing to provide advice and guidance along with practical solutions inspired by International Human Rights Law provisions and based on the best practices achieved in this field, in order to remedy to the misunderstandings that may have caused the growth of discrimination and prejudice and violence in the People’s Republic of China.
9 October 2018
FOB – European Federation for Freedom of Belief
CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions
CAP-LC – Co-ordination of Associations and Persons for Freedom of Conscience
SOTERIA International - Spiritual Human Rights
EIFRF – European Inter-religious Forum for Religious Freedom
AFN - All Faiths Network
FOREF – Forum for Religious Freedom Europe
HRWF – Human Rights Without Frontiers
ORLIR – International Observatory of Religious Freedom of Refugees
GNF – Gerard Noodt Foundation for Freedom of Religion or Belief